The Days of Abandonment

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The Days of Abandonment is a 2002 Italian novel by Elena Ferrante first published in English in 2005, translated by Ann Goldstein and published by Europa Editions.[1] The novel tells the story of an Italian woman living in Turin whose husband abruptly leaves her after fifteen years together.

The novel was adapted into the film I giorni dell'abbandono in 2005 directed by Roberto Faenza.[2]


Olga, a stay at home mother in her late 30s, is told by her husband Mario that he is leaving her and their two children. Initially Olga believes that Mario is not serious, but she soon realizes he has left her for another woman.

After discovering that the other woman Mario is having an affair with is the daughter of one of his colleagues, whom he met when she was fifteen, Olga begins to have a breakdown, attacking Mario and his new girlfriend Carla when she meets them in the street. She tries to seduce a neighbour, but it goes terribly and, though they attempt to have sex, they are eventually forced to give up when he cannot sustain an erection.

One evening Olga's son contracts a fever while her dog begins to be sick and she fears he is poisoned. Olga accidentally jams the key in the lock and realizes that she cannot call for help as her phone line is down and her cellphone is broken. Due to the summer holidays the apartment building she lives in is virtually empty. She finds herself completely unable to focus, but eventually pulls out of it and, when her downstairs neighbour comes by to check on her, is able to open the door herself.

Olga's son is fine, though her dog dies. She eventually rebuilds her life, arranging for joint custody with Mario. Though her friends try to set her up with men, she shies away from them. One of her friends invites her to a concert where she sees her downstairs neighbour playing in the orchestra. Realizing that perhaps she has misjudged him, she contacts him again and the two attempt a relationship.


The novel received positive notices upon its release.[3]


  1. ^ "The Days of Abandonment". Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  2. ^ Young, Deborah. "Review: 'The Days of Abandonment'". Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  3. ^ Korelitz, Jean Hanff. "'The Days of Abandonment': Il Divorzio". Retrieved 27 June 2017.